By Kimia Raafat, KF9 (Ecuador)

Last night, I said goodbye to my KF9 classmates and flagged down a cab.   Departing KFP9 graduation dinner, I couldn’t help but wonder, “Am I really ready to be a graduate? to be a Kiva Fellow?!”

I pushed my uncertainties to the side while greeting and directing my cab driver.  He was a friendly Ethiopian man and obviously curious about what I had been doing with the rowdy crowd in Baghdad Nights.  Maybe he saw all of the ridiculously good looking  people inside (my KF9 classmates and/or Kiva Staff members)? perhaps  he caught a glimpse of some belly dancing? Or any of the Kiva staff/fellow dancing for that matter!  Regardless of the reasoning, my cab driver wanted to know more about what I was doing.

When suddenly it hit me! This was my graduation test!

All week my highly educated group of KF9 classmates would throw around finance terms like, “liquidity. amortization. equity. etc.” (this is when I pretended they were  speaking Tagalog or Russian for field pratice). And inevitably JD would remind us: straying from flowery financial terms will allow others to better understand Kiva’s core mission.  After all, we forget that most people have not experienced 60+ hours of Kiva training — and more often than not, this is their first peek into peer to peer lending.

On the ride home, I proceeded to share with the cab driver MY VERSION of How Kiva Works, Kiva’s mission and core beliefs.  By the time I arrived home, my cab driver was so moved by my explanation of Kiva that he insisted on a discounted cab fare, he refused to accept a tip and–best of all– he put a call to order to  get our practices up and running in Ethiopia!!

I smiled and it hit me, I really am a graduate!

Kimia Raafat is a Kiva Fellow (KF9) at a new Kiva partner, D-MIRO  in Guayaquil, Ecuador.  If you would like to know more about D-MIRO please follow up with Kiva’s  Partners page in the coming weeks!

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